Inside Flint SOUP: $800 win funds kitchen, licensing for Chef Telly

FLINT, Michigan—Samples of gumbo and creole cornbread were paired with a PowerPoint presentation detailing Talicia Campbell’s business dreams. 

Presenting at Flint SOUP’s January meeting at Church of the Harvest International, Campbell tells a room full of strangers about her life dreams and about her budding business, Chef Telly.

“It’s the only thing I ever wanted to be. I had a yearning to cook. I just always wanted to be in the kitchen,” says Campbell, who worked in a restaurant in Georgia and studied culinary arts at the Genesee Area Skill Center and Mott Community College.

“I am a product of Flint and Flint schools,” Campbell said. “Ten years ago I graduated from high school and the skill center. Home is where my heart is. No matter where this takes me, I want to be able to give back to the place that raised me. Flint is my community. I wasn’t just raised by family.  I have a host of people that have taught me so much.”

Related story: Feeding startups: Flint SOUP funds $25,000 to entrepreneurs in five years

She tried to create a business out of her passion—but struggled. 

Flint SOUP’s Adrian Montague and James Shuttleworth reached out to her. “They contacted me before I was ready to present,” she says. “Adrian and James are great people. They are all about our community.”

It led her to this presentation vying with other businesses for a micro-grant. Everyone who attends Flint SOUP feasts on soup, salad and bread; donates $5; and votes on their favorite business. The top vote getter receives the donated cash.

Campbell won and took home the $800 prize pot.

“It means a lot. (Winning the micro grant) means that I will be more active starting my business back up. I can’t go back to selling dinners out of my house,” Campbell says.

With the money will allow her to get back into a kitchen facility on Welch Boulevard in Flint and get all of her licensing. Campbell credits Montague and Shuttleworth for much of her success. 

“You can really feel their hearts for what they do,” she says.  “They connect with the people. They go to different events in the city to recruit. They just share their vision and their goals. They are about the work. They’ve been wanting to work with me for awhile and I’m really excited about the future.”

Read more articles by Bruce Edwards.